None of the articles on winter running I read warned me about this

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From Burst on Pexels

At the beginning of November, I wrote Here’s What I Bought For Running in the Winter. I thought I had all my bases covered. I had warm clothes, new “ice-proof” shoes, and a go-getter attitude. I’d done my research, and I read every article I could find about running in the winter. I was ready for colder temperatures, and the ice and snow winter would bring. I heeded warnings, warming up my muscles before going out the door with dynamic stretching and ensuring that it was bright enough out that I’d be visible.

It wasn’t enough. By the end of the second week in November, I had an interesting pain in my right knee. It wasn’t unbearable, but it was sore in a way it had never been sore before. I took three days off running, chalking it up to overworked muscles. The following days, I hit the road again. The pain turned into a pins and needles sensation. My calf and thigh muscles started cramping. Halfway through my run on Friday, November 13th, I had to stop, and I limped home. By Monday, with the pain only getting worse, I thought I’d pinched a nerve. Like an electrical shock, my knee would throb, and the pain would shoot into my hip. …


These 5 simple additions to your morning coffee could benefit your health.

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Photo by Jakub Dziubak on Unsplash

I like my coffee black, plain and simple. Don’t get me wrong, I like all coffee and espresso, including milk-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, but my morning go-to is a black cup of brewed coffee. For the longest time, I was an overall supplement skeptic. I was confident in my balanced diet and didn’t think that I was missing anything nutritionally. In the fall of 2019, this changed.

It began with my gastroenterologist pointing out that I probably wasn’t getting enough fibre. As I started my fibre-related research, I learned that many people, whether they had a balanced diet or not, are deficient in nutrients. I also quickly concluded that fibre alone might not improve my gut health. …


I live in Eastern Ontario and spent $500

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My Tuesday (November 3rd) Morning Run

I went on my first “winter” run the other day. I say “winter” because it is technically fall still, and this much snow and ice is more of a spring surprise than the average winter day where I live in Ontario, Canada. It was also only -8 degrees celsius with the windchill. Usually, I’d look outside, see these conditions, and head for the treadmill. But I figured, it can’t be that bad, and if I want to run all winter, I’ll run outside eventually.

It was actually great. It was so great I didn’t want the run to end and almost ran a personal best. But I didn’t have appropriate clothing for the weather. From head to toe, my gear was dysfunctional — the run had to end. My cotton tuque kept riding up, and my head was too hot. My t-shirt, long-sleeve t-shirt, and spring running jacket didn’t protect my neck at all but managed to keep me warm. My tuque and the collar of my running jacket took turns knocking out my headphones. There was a substantial two-inch gap between my tights and my ankle socks. Finally, my everyday running shoes aren’t waterproof or suitable for ice, which I’ll explain in this article. (If I hadn’t bought thermal running pants already, my legs would’ve been cold too.) …


The difference between rest and sleep, and why rest is important

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Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash

How I Found Restorative Yoga

It’s March 13th, 2020. I’m sitting on the couch in my childhood home. I’m now unemployed, and there are no more in-person classes. I’ve moved back home, which was never the plan. I could sleep all day if I wanted to. I could sleep right through to the next month, and it wouldn’t matter. Until my new job started in May, there was nothing to do.

May came and went, with June, July, and August. I continued to have no responsibilities through September and October. My work reassured me that yes, I had a job, but they didn’t know when I’d start. I filled my empty days with long runs and even longer yoga practices, along with hours of reading and writing. Still, I felt unfulfilled. I’m the type of person who enjoys an overbooked life. …


Yes, I have gut issues, yes, I saw your comments, and yes, I still drink coffee

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Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

I used to read every comment left on my articles. Every time I got an email announcing a new response, I’d excitedly hop onto Medium to see what my reader had to say. Most of the time, I’d respond, even responses as simple as thanks for reading or thanks for commenting. Then one of my articles went “viral,” garnering over 10,000 reads, which is something I never thought would happen. Definitely not with this particular article.

Soon the responses got overwhelming. Though most comments were neutral, some were unpleasant, and I began receiving a lot of unsolicited medical advice. I mean, people went out of their way to share it, too, finding me outside of the article's comments when I stopped responding. Social media followers saw it shared on Facebook and Twitter and felt the need to advise. Some of them were my friends, who know more about me. …


A classic to enjoy again and a comment on its pertinence today

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Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

She thought I knew a lot because I knew different things from her . . .

After 2020, I wanted to start 2021 in the best way possible, with a good book, jazz music in the background, and a flute of rosé sparkling wine. For me, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald never disappoints. It’s been my favourite book since early high school, which, yes, was a time where I didn’t understand a majority of its themes. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald’s writing was incredible. …


5 tips for success and 3 things to avoid

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Photo by Katherine Fargo on Unsplash

Before June 2020, I can’t remember the last time I read for fun. Definitely not any time during my four years at university. Reading turned out to be the distraction and the challenge I needed to get through the year. Finishing a book gave me an immediate sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, which I needed when the pandemic started. Finishing 50 books made me feel euphoric.

To start a reading goal, pick how many books you want to read and think about achievability over having a challenge. Remember, it’s a goal. You want to succeed. …


Just add water? I don’t think so.

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Photo by Brigitte on Unsplash

Pancakes . . .

There are nights where I dream about my favorite pancakes. I wake up craving deliciously thick buttermilk pancakes filled with chocolate chips or blueberries and covered in syrup. Needless to say, pancake mixes don’t compare to made from scratch buttermilk pancakes. It would be like comparing table syrup or diet syrup (which I never knew existed until recently, nor have I ever seen it in Canada) to 100% maple syrup. It’s just not right.

However, I accept pancake mixes as the convenient pantry staple they are and often use them. I wouldn’t be the person I am, who indulges in pancakes three to four times a week, without using pancake mixes. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t it get boring? No, and I’ll tell you why. Pancakes are versatile. There are so many other things you can add to pancakes to make them a unique treat every single day of the week. Isn’t it unhealthy? That really depends on your definition of health and the mix that you use. …


True or false: An addictive personality is a myth

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I just finished reading Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. In the book, the protagonist’s brother overdoses after being addicted to opioids for three years. The protagonist goes on to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience, and her main experiment is on mice. She gets the mice addicted to Ensure, which they have to press a lever to get, then when the mice go for Ensure, they sometimes get shocked instead.

In the book, there are three groups of mice: the first gives up after a few shocks, the second is more resilient but still gives up eventually, and the final group doesn’t care and keeps enduring the shock. …


How to feel grounded in less than a minute

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Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

It has been an overwhelming year. I wouldn't be surprised if most people experienced more stress and anxiety this year than they have in the past decade. I know that this year was supposed to be one of the best years of my life, and it turned out to be a lot less than that, though I won’t go as far as saying it’s been the worst. I graduated from university this year, without all the pomp and circumstance that usually surrounds graduating, and I was supposed to start my career in May. Needless to say, as well as lacking closure from my student experience, I also didn’t start my job. I still haven’t. I know family and friends who’ve postponed weddings, had surgery dates pushed back, and gave birth to babies no one except them and their partner have seen yet. …

About

Kaitlyn Varin

Passionate about reading, writing, gut health, global politics, yoga, and living my best life. Class of 2020 Political Studies. Proud Canadian.

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